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Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A Free Guide from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A Free Guide from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Equalization - A Free Guide from Audio Masterclass

Free Tutorials from Audio Masterclass

Hints, tips and adventures in audio for the home recording studio owner who wants to go PRO

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How to record or amplify the melodica or any unfamiliar instrument

If you don't know how to record or amplify an unfamiliar instrument, then you're going to have to work out how to do it for yourself. But with a few easy guidelines, it's simple! Learn more...

The difference between minimum-phase and linear-phase EQ on transient signals such as snare drum

The debate between minimum phase EQ and linear phase EQ rages on the web. Some say that linear phase EQ cures the transient smearing of minimum phase. But might it have a more serious side effect? Learn more...

Is your audio interface fast enough?

No-one wants to travel in the digital slow lane. So how important is the speed of your audio interface? Learn more...

Does inverting the phase of one channel of a stereo signal always sound bad?

The two channels of a stereo signal need to be in phase with each other. But are there times when it doesn't matter? Learn more...

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue

For most purposes, stereo is clearly better than mono, even to non-technical people. But for certain applications, mono is definitely the way to go. Learn more...

How much difference does mastering really make? [with audio]

If your mix is as good as you can get it, can mastering really make all that much difference? Learn more...

What exactly does the phrase 'leave headroom for mastering' mean?

It's a phrase you will hear often, normally without much or even any further explanation. But is there a real reason for doing this? Could there be a danger zone when you approach the maximum digital signal level? Learn more...

Do some microphones respond to EQ better than others?

Conventional recording wisdom says that you should choose the mic that sounds right in itself, rather than expecting EQ to solve any problems. But do some mics work better with EQ than others? Learn more...

A simple mixing tip that will improve (nearly) all of your mixes

When you are mixing there are a thousand things to think about, but this one tip will solve a very common problem Learn more...

The new battlefield in the loudness war?

With new standards on subjective loudness becoming increasingly common, is the loudness war over? Or will producers and mastering engineers simply find new weapons to fight with? Learn more...

The professional way to make sure your mics are connected correctly

Get your microphone connections wrong and you have a huge problem, possibly bigger than you think. So how can you be sure you have got them right? Learn more...

Setting the gain control on your audio interface for recording

Watch a short video on how to get the best gain setting in your audio interface Learn more...

Setting a noise gate for a bass guitar with amplifier noise

Watch a short video showing how a noisy bass guitar can be significantly improved with simple gating techniques Learn more...

Visualizing stereo information using Lissajous figures

It's good to be able to visualize audio as well as hear it, often to pinpoint any potential defects. One interesting method uses Lissajous figures. Learn more...

Three types of musician you'll prefer to work with in the studio, and one type that you won't

Musicians come in all shapes and sizes, and all levels of ability. So what should you expect from your collaborators in the studio? Learn more...

The Making of a CD - FREE DOWNLOAD

How up-and-coming band SinFiction financed, produced and brought to market their first CD album, 'Led By Verses' Learn more...

How to find the best tempo (BPM) for your recording

Not too fast, not too slow, but exactly the right tempo. That's a choice that you need to get right very early in the production process. Learn more...

Why choosing a key for your song is one of the most important aspects of preparation for production and recording

It is hugely important to get the musical and artistic aspects of your song right before even thinking about recording. Choosing the best key is a vitally important step. Learn more...

2 settings every preamp owner should know and use

If your preamp has both gain and level controls, you have a way of getting just the right amount of warmth as you record Learn more...

7 important microphone types that you should know and the benefits of each

Choice of microphones is a very personal thing and there are many factors to take into account. There is no one general 'one microphone to rule them all', but a range of microphone types that all have their own characteristic sound textures. Learn more...

The 10 rules of pan

An Audio Masterclass visitor wants to pan, but doesn't know the rules. Do you have to know the rules before you break them? Learn more...

Audio demonstrations of distortion produced by compressor plug-ins

Sometimes the warmth of a vacuum-tube-emulating compressor plug-in is exactly what you want. Sometimes clean is better. But is your 'clean' compressor plug-in actually distortion-free? Learn more...

Fixing a problem note with Auto-Tune

Why process a whole vocal track when there is only one note that is out of tune? Sometimes surgical precision can be better than a brute force strike. Learn more...

An investigation of the pre-delay parameter of the Lexicon 480L reverb plug-in

Adding a delay before the reverb kicks in can create an interesting sound texture and make heavily-reverbed vocals more intelligible Learn more...

Develop your DAW skills by making a ringtone using edits and crossfades

Sometimes it is good to develop and practise your skills on a simple, unimportant task. Here we will make a ringtone using editing and crossfading. Learn more...

Make an attention-getting lo-fi introduction for a track

If you want to get people to listen actively to your music, then one way is to grab their attention in the first few seconds of your track or song. A lo-fi introduction is one way to do this. Learn more...

Create an amazing trance riser in 7 steps

The trance sub-genre of electronic dance music (EDM) has certain features that are both essential to the genre and quite close to being unique to the genre. One is the 'riser', which every trance track features, usually several times. And here we're going to make one... Learn more...

Clipping and compressing a drum recording to achieve an exciting sound texture

It is an interesting contradiction in audio that it is necessary to master the skills of making a recording that is clean and free from distortion, yet also to be able to produce interesting 'warmth' or distortion effects when required. Learn more...

Exploring the MASSIVE headroom in your DAW

It is a common misconception that 0 dBFS is the maximum level that a DAW can handle. But in this tutorial we'll see that a modern DAW can go way beyond this. Learn more...

Should you make decisions as you record, or keep your options open until later?

There are so many decisions to be made during the process of recording. Should you make them one at a time as you go along, or let them pile up so that you have a mass of decisions to make in the mix? Learn more...

Demonstrating the Waves J37 analog tape emulation plug-in and comparison with a real tape recorder

A video demonstration with examples including sine wave tests, female vocal, bass, background vocals and drums Learn more...

Two microphone preamplifiers compared at Abbey Road Studio 2 - tube and transistor

Tested are the Universal Audio Solo/610 (tube) and the Focusrite ISA One. Learn more...

Recordings of speech by newly-starting Audio Masterclass students

Audio Masterclass students start by sending in a simple recording of speech. That shouldn't be too difficult, should it? Learn more...

Recordings of acoustic guitar by Audio Masterclass students

Audio Masterclass students make recordings to compare their microphones. Here are a few of acoustic guitar.. Learn more...

The Waves CLA-76 compressor plug-in on snare drum, with video

A practical demonstration of the Waves emulation of the Universal Audio 1176 compressor on a studio recording of snare drum Learn more...

A simple 8-mic drum mix, with video

Joe Clancy plays drums in Abbey Road Studio 3. Audio Masterclass is there to make the multitrack recording. Learn more...

Is it time to reinvent the physical mixing console?

Although the mouse and keyboard interface works and is cheap, many of us yearn for something more like the traditional analog console interface. But is it time for a complete rethink? Learn more...

How much should you charge for your audio services?

You've been asked to make a recording of some local musicians, and they expect to pay you. Wow - you're a pro! But how much should you charge? Learn more...

Q: Can I use a low-pass filter to remove noise from my recording?

An Audio Masterclass student has a problem with acoustic noise. Is it an acceptable solution to filter it out? Learn more...

What basic equipment do you need to make professional recordings?

You can't make recordings of professional quality with substandard equipment. So what is the basic level that you need, to achieve professional standards? Learn more...

How complicated do your monitors have to be?

Do your monitors have digital FIR filters; digital fine-tuning for volume, trim, bass and treble settings; soft fade-in and Crimson Aramid fibre drivers? Your listeners' loudspeakers don't. Learn more...

What is production? Part 5: Mastering

When the mix engineer has squeezed every last drop of perfection out of the original multitrack recording and turned it into a stereo mix, the mastering engineer will attempt to perfect it even moreā€¦ Learn more...

What is production? Part 4: Mixing

Mixing can be the process of getting the best out of your original multitrack recording, or it can be an amazingly creative process in its own right. But first you'll have to fix the faults... Learn more...

What is production? Part 3: Recording

Of the five stages of production - A&R, arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering, clearly recording is central. And there is a lot more to it than choosing and placing microphones. Learn more...

Audio problems at the BBC - TV drama audiences can't understand what the actors are saying

The BBC's recent broadcast of Jamaica Inn has drawn comments and complaints. "The actors are mumbling", "The sound track is faulty", "Like listening through mud". So what has really gone wrong, and who is to blame? Learn more...

When using a drum virtual instrument, should you record each drum to its own individual track?

You can use the stereo output from a drum virtual instrument just as it is, or you can record each drum, the hihat and overheads to individual tracks. Which is the better way of working? Learn more...

New vs. old guitar strings: Part 1 - The case for new guitar strings

This is an age-old debate in the world of music making. Is it OK to use old guitar strings, or should you change them often? Learn more...

New vs. old guitar strings: Part 2 - The case for used guitar strings

For recording, sometimes it is better for your guitar strings to be used rather than new. When would used guitar strings be more appropriate? Learn more...

New vs. old guitar strings: Part 3 - The case for conditioning your guitar strings

If new guitar strings are too zingy for the sound you want, and used strings too variable, then perhaps there is a case for conditioning new strings, so they have exactly the sound you require. Learn more...

How to set a graphic equalizer

The graphic equalizer is a very popular tool for live sound. You can also use it in the studio. But why would you use a graphic, and how should you set it? Learn more...

What level of background noise is acceptable in a recording?

An Audio Masterclass student lives close to a busy road. Is it acceptable to have background noise in his recordings? Learn more...

What is production? Part 2: Arrangement

Good musical arrangements don't happen by accident. Either the band can arrange themselves, or someone else can take charge of the orchestration. Either way, it is the producer's job to make sure that everything sounds great before the microphones are positioned and plugged in. Learn more...

What is production? Part 1: A&R

If you spend a lot of time reading and viewing videos about professional audio on the Internet, then you could easily get the idea that production is all about having the right equipment and software, particularly plug-ins. It is very true that getting the right sound is an important part of production, but there's a lot more to it than that. In this series, I will take a look at the five major components of production. A&R, arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering. Learn more...

Recording a cymbal from different mic positions (with audio)

An interesting audio comparison of microphone positions on cymbal, sent in by an Audio Masterclass student. The choice of mic is interesting too... Learn more...

How not to run a recording session!

Make your performers comfortable, find the best microphone positions, run the session smoothly and record clean signals. But not in this session... Learn more...

How much mastering does a Pink Floyd soundalike band need?

If you want to sound like a 1960s psychedelic band, are 21st century mastering techniques appropriate? Learn more...

Q: Why do I have to record acoustic guitar twice?

An Audio Masterclass visitor would like to record his acoustic guitar just once and not have to double it. And he thinks he has found an easy way... Learn more...

Even the best sound engineers in the world can't be trusted - apparently

The reason that the Red Hot Chili Peppers mimed their performance in the Super Bowl half time show is that the NFL were worried that something would go wrong with the sound! Learn more...

Q: Should I upgrade my Shure SM58 and use technical solutions for noise and ambience?

An Audio Masterclass visitor wonders what the next stage in his journey towards pro audio should be. Learn more...

Recording acoustic guitar in stereo - should you use spaced or coincident mics?

Spacing your mics can create a rich open sound. But can there be too much of a good thing? Learn more...

How to get started quickly in home recording

Do you need to wait until you have a fully-professional studio setup? Or can you start recording tomorrow? Learn more...

The professional way to make sure your mics are connected correctly

Get your microphone connections wrong and you have a huge problem, possibly bigger than you think. So how can you be sure you have got them right? Learn more...

Setting the recording level control in GarageBand

Several Audio Masterclass students have used Apple's GarageBand DAW and achieved excellent results. However, GarageBand's recording level control can be confusing. Other DAWs don't have one. Learn more...

Who should be responsible for the fade at the end of a song - the producer, mix engineer or mastering engineer?

Who should decide whether a song needs to fade out at the end? And who should do it? Learn more...

Buy an SSL mixing console for a quarter of its price when new!

If you're in the market for a quality post-production console, this might be of interest to you... Learn more...

What is this strange-looking piece of equipment?

An Audio Masterclass student spots a strange piece of equipment in a photo. What could it be? Learn more...

Click removal at the start of a track

It's always good to have a clean start to a track, and removing even a tiny click can make a significant improvement. Learn more...

Setting microphone preamplifier gain to achieve both adequate headroom and a good signal-to-noise ratio

Demonstrations of preamplifier gain settings showing the importance of headroom, the consequences of too low a gain, and that raising the gain does not increase acoustic background noise. Learn more...

How to become a better singer

To improve as a singer you need better tuning, tone and emotional communication. Here's how... Learn more...

The Making of a CD - FREE DOWNLOAD

How up-and-coming band SinFiction financed, produced and brought to market their first CD album, 'Led By Verses' Learn more...

Can you hear the difference between a square wave and a sine wave?

A comparison between square waves and sine waves of various frequencies, displayed on an oscilloscope, with commentary. Learn more...

How to double track easily and efficiently

Double tracking is a powerful technique to create a rich texture in vocals and instruments. You can do it the hard way - or do it the easier way... Learn more...

Make your recordings richer with double tracking

To achieve a richer sound from vocals, guitars, and even drums, the 'old school' technique of double tracking is extremely effective. And it costs nothing but a little extra dedication to your craft. Learn more...

One simple step you must take to make sure your masters sound really great

How do you know for sure whether your master is an improvement on the original mix? Here's a simple way to tell... Learn more...

"There is background noise in my studio. Should I use a noise-reduction plug-in?"

An Audio Masterclass student asks whether it is OK to use a noise-reduction plug-in instead of proper sound insulation. Learn more...

Q: "Why is the signal from my microphone low in level and noisy?"

Sometimes a perfectly adequate microphone connected to a perfectly adequate audio interface will sound pretty bad. But there's an easy explanation... Learn more...

The importance of monitoring in the recording studio

When you make recordings, you will be *monitoring*, not merely listening. Monitoring is vital to the recording process all the way from basic tracks through mixing, mastering and quality control of the finished product. Learn more...

A brief introduction to acoustic treatment

When you have achieved good soundproofing in your room, you will need acoustic treatment to make it sound good both for recording and monitoring. Learn more...

A brief introduction to soundproofing

You don't want background noise on your recordings, and you don't want to annoy your neighbors. But you don't want to spend more money than you have to, and you definitely don't want to waste money on soundproofing that doesn't work. Learn more...

A brief introduction to working in professional audio

In nearly all cases, Audio Masterclass students want to be able to work to a professional standard. They may want to become employed in the industry, write and produce their own music, or do unpaid work as well as a professional would do it. This introduction will help you to understand the ways in which you can work with audio professionally, or to a professional standard. Learn more...

A brief introduction to mastering in the home recording studio

The process of mastering has changed a lot over the years. In the days of vinyl records, the object of mastering was to transfer a finished mix on tape to a lacquer master disc, which could then be processed to form the metal stampers that would create the records the public would buy. Learn more...

A brief introduction to mixing in the home recording studio

The function of mixing has changed since the beginning of the modern era of recording techniques in the late 1960s. In earlier times, the band and vocal would be recorded all together simultaneously, directly into mono or stereo. Mixing therefore took place actually during the recording session. But as multitrack recorders developed, eventually it was possible to place each instrument and vocal on its own track, and leave the mixing until later. Learn more...

A brief introduction to reverb and effects for the home recording studio

It's a rare recording that sounds great without reverb, natural or artificial. Reverb and effects are an important part of modern recording techniques. Learn more...

A brief introduction to compression for the home recording studio

The original purpose of the compressor was to reduce the difference between low-level signals and high-level signals so that equipment from an earlier era of recording, broadcasting and public address could handle them more easily. Learn more...

A brief introduction to equalization for the home recording studio

Equalization, or EQ, is one of the most basic yet most important tools in recording, live sound, and all other activities of sound engineering. Equalization is used to repair problems, to make individual instruments and voices sound better, and to help instruments and voices blend together in the mix. It is also used to improve the mix, and to make tracks on an album flow seamlessly from one to another without sudden changes of frequency balance. Learn more...

A brief introduction to microphone preamplifiers for the home recording studio

Any professional microphone must be connected to a specialized microphone preamplifier to function correctly. The preamplifier will boost the signal voltage from the microphone anything up to 1000 times so that it can be handled correctly by the following circuitry. Learn more...

A brief introduction to microphones for the home recording studio

Understanding the various types of microphones is key to successful recording. There are four basic types of microphone that are in regular use in professional recording, and other types that are significant, but used less often. The most important types are these... Learn more...

A brief introduction to microphone techniques for the home recording studio

Microphone technique is the art and skill of selecting an appropriate microphone for the job in hand, in terms of type, model and sometimes even the individual microphone, as microphones that were identical when new can come to sound different as they age. Learn more...

Does inverting the phase of one channel of a stereo signal always sound bad?

The two channels of a stereo signal need to be in phase with each other. But are there times when it doesn't matter? Learn more...

Do some microphones respond to EQ better than others?

Conventional recording wisdom says that you should choose the mic that sounds right in itself, rather than expecting EQ to solve any problems. But do some mics work better with EQ than others? Learn more...

This ultimate vintage collector's item gives you bragging rights that almost no-one else has

You might buy a piece of vintage equipment to achieve a vintage sound. Or you might buy it for the simple pleasure of ownership. Enter the Studer D820X *digital* reel-to-reel recorder... Learn more...

Spot the Stradivarius violin - REALLY test your ears [with audio]

Can you tell a priceless Stradivarius violin from a $5500 copy from a $60 chain-store clunker? Learn more...

Is there such a thing as Photoshopped audio?

As a major fashion chain ditches the use of Photoshop for a more natural look, should we do the same in audio? Learn more...

How to insult a sound engineer [with video]

Sound engineers are normally a pretty thick-skinned bunch. So what is it that really riles them? Learn more...

A heroine for live performance on TV?

Viola player Natalie Holt throws eggs at Simon Cowell on Britain's Got Talent. She protests at having to mime playing her instrument. Learn more...

Why won't publishers listen to your music?

It's one thing being rejected. But when publishers won't even listen to your music, what could you possibly be doing wrong? Learn more...

Have your music recorded by a real symphony orchestra

If you have a spare 665 euros among your loose change, you could have 60 seconds of your own music recorded by a 70-piece orchestra! For real. Learn more...

Which came first - Pirates of the Caribbean, or Gladiator?

An eagle-eared RP reader spots similarities in music for the movies. Learn more...

What is the easiest way to convert watts to decibels?

An Audio Masterclass visitor wants to convert watts to dB. Is this even possible? Learn more...

If you had no dangly thing at the back of your throat, how well could you sing?

That dangly thing at the back of your throat, properly called the uvula... Could you sing without it? Learn more...